Speaking English and Using the Correct Word

Posts like this are such great reminders of the importance of choosing the correct word if we want to convey the correct meaning to our readers.
Is there one that drives you crazy? Or one you stumble over every time in your own writing?
Do you wonder or wander? To you practice or practise? It’s always worth having a dictionary to hand when you’re editing.

english-department-welcome Are Americans becoming lazier with each passing generation when it comes to understanding the correct context of words and when they should (or should not) be used?

Does the language from the “olden days” sound pretentious in today’s relaxed society (such as “whom” vs “who”?)  To this day, I continue to say “To whom it may concern…” when starting a letter and no particular person is addressed.

Between my personal and professional life, it is safe to say I read quite a bit and talk to a lot of people. Lately I’ve noticed an increase in the improper use of English words as many are very close in pronunciation and/or spelling, yet have different meanings.

What’s really astonishing is some of the people who flub on the word they have elected to use are regarded as highly educated people or journalists who have studied English in-depth for their career.

On the other hand…

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John von Daler
    May 22, 2014 @ 11:38:02

    So important! But it may also be important to notice when people do not understand the nuances; it can be useful to revert to “standard” English sometimes when communication gets tough. My pet peeves: Obama never says “people”, but always “folks”. I know the difference between “affect” and “effect”, but I dislike the usage. “Affection” gets in the way; I feel it pulling the meaning in another direction. My father disliked “consensus of opinion” when “consensus” was quite enough in itself.

    Liked by 1 person


    • cicampbell2013
      May 22, 2014 @ 13:14:53

      Yes, John, I think misunderstanding — or even lack of understanding — is often the problem. Perhaps, as writers, we need to be clearer, revert to simpler words sometimes. Words can be such gorgeous, sumptuous things to wrap your tongue round, but wasted if the meaning is unclear or placement incorrect.



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